Three people accused of stealing from victims of Florida condo collapse

Peninsula Premier Admin

Even as first responders were still digging through the rubble, searching for victims in the condo collapse in Surfside, officials said three people were already plotting how they were going to steal from those victims.”For a group of alleged identity thieves, it was a time to make some money,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.Rundle on Wednesday announced the arrests of three suspects accused of stealing the identities and then the money of seven victims of the collapse. Five of the seven victims were killed when the building fell on June 24.”Cyber grave robbers did move very quickly after the collapse to grab what they could from deceased victims,” Rundle said.”It’s unimaginable to me and truly abhorrent,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.Rundle identified the suspects as Bettsy Alejandra Cacho-Medina, Kimberly Johnson, and Rodney Choute.Police called them professional identity thieves.”Nothing about them is real,” said Aventura police Chief Bryan Pegues. “Their IDs, their cars, their residences, nothing is legit.” Investigators said the suspects used the victims’ personal information to get replacement credit cards in the victims’ names.At a news conference, officials released a recording of a call they say is Medina ordering one of those credit cards.In the call, you can hear a company representative ask, “Did you request a new card on the 6th of July?”The woman identified as Medina responds by saying, “Yes, because I was a victim of the towers that just collapsed in Surfside.”Officials also released surveillance video they said shows Medina using one of the fraudulent cards to make purchases. In all, the three suspects are accused of stealing $45,000 from the victims before they were arrested.”Today, they got what they deserved and we’re all much happier for it,” said Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett.The suspects all face a variety of charges including identity fraud. If convicted, they could face up to 30 years in prison.Rundle said the investigation is ongoing as the suspects may have also stolen identities from other collapse victims.She said there could be more arrests made in the future.

Even as first responders were still digging through the rubble, searching for victims in the condo collapse in Surfside, officials said three people were already plotting how they were going to steal from those victims.

“For a group of alleged identity thieves, it was a time to make some money,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

Advertisement

Rundle on Wednesday announced the arrests of three suspects accused of stealing the identities and then the money of seven victims of the collapse.

Five of the seven victims were killed when the building fell on June 24.

“Cyber grave robbers did move very quickly after the collapse to grab what they could from deceased victims,” Rundle said.

“It’s unimaginable to me and truly abhorrent,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

Rundle identified the suspects as Bettsy Alejandra Cacho-Medina, Kimberly Johnson, and Rodney Choute.

Police called them professional identity thieves.

“Nothing about them is real,” said Aventura police Chief Bryan Pegues. “Their IDs, their cars, their residences, nothing is legit.”

Investigators said the suspects used the victims’ personal information to get replacement credit cards in the victims’ names.

At a news conference, officials released a recording of a call they say is Medina ordering one of those credit cards.

In the call, you can hear a company representative ask, “Did you request a new card on the 6th of July?”

The woman identified as Medina responds by saying, “Yes, because I was a victim of the towers that just collapsed in Surfside.”

Officials also released surveillance video they said shows Medina using one of the fraudulent cards to make purchases.

In all, the three suspects are accused of stealing $45,000 from the victims before they were arrested.

“Today, they got what they deserved and we’re all much happier for it,” said Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett.

The suspects all face a variety of charges including identity fraud. If convicted, they could face up to 30 years in prison.

Rundle said the investigation is ongoing as the suspects may have also stolen identities from other collapse victims.

She said there could be more arrests made in the future.

Contributed by local news sources

Next Post

Siblings of Boston murder victim 'floored' after charges brought against suspect 33 years later

The siblings of a Boston murder victim say they are feeling a sense of gratitude after charges have been brought against a suspect 33 years after their sister’s death.On July 28, 1988, Judy Chamberlain was found strangled in the basement of the former Fargo Building at 451 D St. in […]